Plant Highlights By Date
The genus Gasteria belongs to the family Asphodelaceae, and it is closely related to the larger genus Aloe. Gasteria acinacifolia is a species found along South Africa’s southern coast.
Plants in the Papaveraceae, or Poppy Family, are often herbaceous annuals, as is the case with California’s state flower, Eschscholzia californica. At the other end of the size spectrum is Dendromecon harfordii, commonly known as the Channel Island Bush Poppy.
A sizeable majority of the species in the Aizoaceae (Ice Plant Family) come from southern Africa, and some of the family’s genera are concentrated in the winter-rainfall area, on the west side of South Africa and the southwest corner of neighboring Namibia. One of the plants found in Namaqualand is Cheiridopsis denticulata.
South Africa has several tall-growing single-stemmed species of Aloe that make spectacular flower displays in winter. One of these is Aloe ferox, with an extensive distribution in the southern and southeastern part of the country.
All Lachenalia species have non-branching spires of flowers, and often the flowers are relatively short. However, a few species have longer tubular flowers adapted for pollination by sunbirds. One such species is Lachenalia punctata, with a large area of occurrence in the southwestern part of South Africa.
The Protea Family, Proteaceae, has many representatives in Australia, including about 170 species in the large genus Banksia. The great majority of the plants come from the winter-rainfall region in the southwestern part of Australia, but there are some notable eastern species as well, and one of these is Banksia integrifolia.
The genus Acacia, as it has been traditionally defined, is a large group from around the world, with the greatest concentration found in Australia. In 2006, when the genus Mariosousa was created, Acacia willardiana was renamed as Mariosousa willardiana.
Russelia equisetiformis is a shrub native to Mexico and Guatemala, with stems that grow upward, then arch over and cascade downward at the tips.
Opuntia is one of the largest groups in the entire Cactus Family, and it has the largest geographical range as well: from Canada in the north to Argentina in the south. A good example is Opuntia sulphurea, which is a common species in its native South America, but not often seen in U.S. gardens.
Some groups of plants, such as the kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos species), commonly have hairy or fuzzy flowers, but there are a few Aloe species with this trait, and these are found in northeastern Africa and across the Red Sea on the Arabian Peninsula. One such species is Aloe lavranosii, from Yemen.